Sutton by J.r. MoehringerSutton by J.r. Moehringersticker-burst


byJ.r. Moehringer

Paperback | May 7, 2013

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"Electrifying." --Booklist(starred)

Willie Sutton was born in the Irish slums of Brooklyn in 1901, and he came of age at a time when banks were out of control. Sutton saw only one way out and only one way to win the girl of his dreams. So began the career of America's most successful bank robber. During three decades Sutton became so good at breaking into banks, the FBI put him on its first-ever Most Wanted List. But the public rooted for the criminal who never fired a shot, and when Sutton was finally caught for good, crowds at the jail chanted his name.

In J.R. Moehringer's retelling, it was more than need or rage that drove Sutton. It was his first love. And when he finally walked free--a surprise pardon on Christmas Eve, 1969--he immediately set out to find her.

"What Hilary Mantel did for Thomas Cromwell and Paula McLain for Hadley Hemingway . . . J.R. Moehringer now does for bank robber Willie Sutton." --Newsday

"Thoroughly absorbing. . . . Filled with vibrant and colorful re-creations of not one but several times in the American past." --Kevin Baker, author ofStrivers Row

"[J.R. Moehringer] has found an historical subject equal to his vivid imagination, gimlet journalistic eye, and pitch-perfect ear for dialogue. By turns suspenseful, funny, romantic, and sad--in short, a book you won't be able to put down." --John Burnham Schwartz, author ofReservation RoadandThe Commoner

Heather's Review

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer J.R. Moehringer makes his fiction debut with this delicious read about the life of Depression-era bank robber Willie Sutton. Willie Sutton (1901 - 1980) was kindhearted, hardworking, and inherently honorable. But from a young age, the goodness in him was beaten down and bullied out. At every turn his att...

see all heather's picks
J.R. Moehringer, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2000, is a former national correspondent for theLos Angeles Timesand a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Moehringer is the author of theNew York TimesbestsellingThe Tender Barand coauthor ofOpenby Andre Agassi.
Title:SuttonFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 1 inPublished:May 7, 2013Publisher:Hachette BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1401312683

ISBN - 13:9781401312688

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok I read quite a bit over the last few days. The plot-twists left me shocked and confused in the best way. It left me thinking hard, pondering every detail of the book. I would definitely recommend.
Date published: 2017-10-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Sutton The beginning and middle of the book were incredibly captivating and painted such a vivid picture of Willie's life but I too found the end dragged on.
Date published: 2017-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I'm a sucker for true crime books, but love when they have that first person element to them that makes the narrative even that more interesting to read. Sutton is a must read for any fan of the genre, as it takes you through the life and times of Suttton, from his perspective.
Date published: 2017-05-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book. Had my attention the whole time.
Date published: 2017-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! This book had me hooked at every page, I enjoyed reading it. The author is clearly a talented writer. I'm glad I picked up this book as it was a very good page turner. I would recommend this book to anyone who comes by it!
Date published: 2017-03-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Solid book Pretty good book. Well written and an easy read. Touches on a lot of different aspects.
Date published: 2017-01-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great read I picked up this book when I saw it featured by my local Chapters, and I'm glad I did! It's a very well-written, intriguing that really transports you to the flashback time periods, and the story keeps you on your toes.
Date published: 2016-12-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sutton Started off really slow, in my opinion, but got significantly better as the story went on.
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sutton Started off really slow, in my opinion, but got significantly better as the story went on.
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! Hard to put this one down! Suspenseful, funny, romantic, tragic...has a bit of everything.
Date published: 2016-12-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book I just picked that book randomly and was really not disappointed. Great story and really well told.
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! I was really impressed by this book. Such a great read from start to finish including a lot of twists along the way.
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sutton Well written - hard to put down.
Date published: 2015-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic read One of the best books I've read in a long time. I wasn't familiar with the events that inspired the book initially, but the book seemed to grab my attention every time I'd pass by it at the bookstore. The writing style really draws you into the events and brings Willie Sutton to life. I laughed out loud many times, and even got teary eyed at a few points. I was sad when the book was over. Tragic, funny, romantic - you will fall in love with Willie.
Date published: 2013-07-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Page-turner When bank robber William Sutton is finally released from prison, he finds himself the guest of a newspaper man and a photographer that want the story of his life from his lips. Willie, however, is only going to do it his way. And what evolves from a simple chronological tour of New York and its boroughs becomes a story of love, loss, and redemption.
Date published: 2013-06-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Sutton I don’t usually read bank robber stories, but I liked this book. I read it because J.R. Moehringer wrote it, and after Andre Agassi’s biography, Open, anything by Moehringer goes on my must-read list. Sutton is a historical novel based on the life of Willie “The Actor” Sutton, a man who reached folk hero status through his decades-long career as a bank robber. Sutton used make-up and disguises to fool his bank victims. He was “The Actor” in his role of robber of the banks that were robbing the people. A real-life event provides the skeleton for the book: Christmas Eve, 1969, Willie Sutton was set free from Attica Correctional Facility. The following day—Christmas Day—he spent with a photographer and a reporter driving around New York City re-living the story of his life. As with all things involving Willie Sutton, the details of the real day are fuzzy or contradictory, so Moehringer fleshes out this real-life occurrence with his novel version of what such a day could, maybe should, have been like. Moving back and forth between past and present, he unfolds the tale of how an ordinary man from the Irish slums of Brooklyn became one of the most notorious 20th Century bank robbers and escape artists. Moehringer deftly peals back the layers of his characters through subtle details. How reputable is the plastic surgeon? He misspells the word nasal. How does his friend, Eddie, view life? He yells out to a room full of newborn babies, “Welcome to earth, suckers. The whole thin’s rigged.” And Sutton? He speaks about himself in the third person. He casts himself in any role that will help him get through the next moment, and he casts those around him in roles as well. For him, the people who come into and out of his life don’t have names. They are Photographer, Reporter, Quack, Porter, Lawyer, Big Cop and Bigger Cop. “Willie reads that acting isn’t about what you say, it’s about what you don’t say, what you vividly withhold. The audience doesn’t want to know you, they want to feel that desire to know you. Since you never fully satisfy that desire, never come clean, acting is the opposite of confessing. Willie underlines this passage in pen.” The real Willie Sutton character appealed to the struggling masses of the early 20th Century, when banks were the Bad Guys. Moehringer’s novel Willie Sutton character appeals to a 21st Century audience interested in the extravagant, luxurious highs and violent, harrowing, solitary lows of a mythical bank robber. After reading Sutton, we don’t feel we know Willie “The Actor” Sutton, but we desire to know him.
Date published: 2013-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from EXCELLENT Born on June 30, 1901 Willie “the Actor” Sutton was a notorious bank robber through the early part of the 1900’s. He died on November 02, 1980 after having spent more than half of his adult life in prison. He served time in several different penal institutions and managed dramatic escapes three times. Willie Sutton was a legend stealing more than $2 million during his career as a notorious bank robber. He became somewhat of a legend due to the fact that he never completed a robbery if a woman screamed or a baby cried and never hurt or killed anyone during his robberies. Willie was a gentleman thief, but also a smooth talker and a consummate liar so many versions of his escapades exist. Mr. Moehringer begins his book on the day of Willie’s final release from Attica on Christmas Eve, 1969. Wanting an exclusive story “Reporter” and “Photographer” (Willie never can remember their names) are sent to get the exclusive story of the murder of Arnold Shuster, who recognized Willie on the subway, thereby sending him back to prison for the final time. Willie agrees to the interview but on his terms. He wants to visit the important places in his life in chronological order, finally getting to the scene of the Shuster shooting. Although it means traveling back and forth across the city of New York several times “Reporter” and “Photographer” agree. Each stop is a story told in Willie’s voice, an important event in his life, a memory sometimes sad and sometimes humorous. Mr. Moehringer obviously did his research. I so thoroughly enjoyed this book I wanted to know a little more about Willie Sutton, so did a little more reading about his life. I believe Mr. Moehringer waded through the various stories and factual accounts and wove them into his narrative. The book starts and ends on Christmas Eve of 1969, but the one night is filled with Willie’s memories of decades. Unfortunately the ending is bittersweet for both Willie and the reader. This was my first read of 2013 and what a great way to start off the new year of reading. This is a five star book all the way. Mr. Moehringer does not go on to tell us about Willie’s life after his release, but my personal reading let me to believe that although he no longer robbed banks (???) and despite suffering from emphysema he still led a pretty interesting life. He became an advocate for prison reform, consulted with banks implementing anti-robbery techniques and even became a spokesperson for the New Britain Bank and Trust Company.
Date published: 2013-01-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Talented writer This fictionalized account of bank robber Willie Sutton's life gave great glimpses of life in the 1920's to 50's. Loved how the author seamlessly went back and forth from Willie's interview on his final release from prison, to his life of crime and arrests and escapes. Toward the end, I found it dragged a bit and was somewhat confusing in its ending. A good read though.
Date published: 2013-01-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Book A good read and you slowly begin to really care about Sutton. Ending was a litte strange though.
Date published: 2012-12-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay I was drawn to this storyline based on the description provided. However, as I started to read this, I realized that it did quite meet my expectations. While I liked how the story flowed, I found about 3/4 of the way through the book I was saying to myself - am I done yet? It got pretty repetitive.
Date published: 2012-11-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great book. Sutton, what a tough man who tore down banks with his dignity... Good language and structure.
Date published: 2012-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enthralling The Good Stuff Was completely enthralled with the story and with Wilie Little hints throughout story grab you throughout the story and keeps you from wanting to put book down. Had a couple of late nights with this one - not to mention a couple of times I really didn't want to go back on the sales floor I was so engrossed Makes you think about so many things - especially about nature vs nurture How can you not love a bank robber who went out of his way not to kill people Need to know more about Sutton -- think I will be looking into some of the research Author obviously thoroughly researched Sutton Authentic & you feel like you are back in the era The characters love of the written word is delightful and gives you another reason to be intrigued by him The part with the psychiatrist really gives you pause for thought Get a real understanding of America during the depression Delightfully dark and funny at time I dare you not to fall in love with Willie and cheer him on - a moral quandary for sure, you know what he has done is wrong, yet you can understand what brought him to this place and think maybe just maybe if you were in the same place, you to0 might make the same choices An intriguing and unusual love story O.K. - enough - it's also a Heather's Pick. I'm usually not the type of girl that goes for the Oprah picks or Globe and Mail lists and definitely not anything literary - but man I think Heather and I have similar tastes Just go buy it - you will thank me The Not So Good Stuff A wee bit slow moving at times Still confused about one part (And damn you Moehringer - it just broke my heart if I get what happened) Favorite Quotes/Passages "Because Sutton robbed banks, the TV reporter says, and who the hell has a kind word to say for banks? They should not only let him out, they should give him the key to the city." "He invited death in with that suicide note. Once you let death in, it doesn't always leave." "Oh kid, it's all about confidence. That's the whole game right there. Whatever you do, do it with your nuts. That's how Ruth swung a bat - with his nuts. Rob a bank, date a girl, brush your teeth - whatever. Do it with boldness, with swagger, with nuts, or don't do it all." "A man is his job, kid, and I had no job, so I was a bum. A loser. America's a great place to be a winner, but it's hell on losers." Who Should/Shouldn't Read Not to be sexist or anything but this one will really appeal to men but at the same time most women will be as enthralled with the story as I was Perfect Christmas gift for pretty much everyone on your list -- there is something for pretty much everyone in this one Not for those who need things clear cut and fast paced One that you could give to both Non-Fiction and Fiction lovers 4.5 Dewey's Borrowed this one from our staff room library - basically a bunch of ARC's from publishers and we can borrow and pass around - another truly awesome part of my job
Date published: 2012-11-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Surprising! A poor, uneducated Irish boy in a disfunctional family growns up to become one of the most notorious bank robbers in American history. His escape attempts from the most infamous prisons makes him a legend. Lots of history mixed in with an interesting life story. I was surprised how much I liked Willie Sutton. Very enjoyable read.
Date published: 2012-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't Put it Down! This is the first book I've read by this author. I had good expectations for this novel -- but it beat them. It takes you back through the life of Willie (The Actor) Sutton and you get a feel for the nitty gritty bits of life in Brooklyn throughout the early 1900s. I'm also a die-hard romance fan, and I was happy to see that even a bank robber like Willie has a romantic side to him. Overall, great book. Definately a must-buy.
Date published: 2012-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! Pulitzer Prize-winning writer J.R. Moehringer makes his fiction debut with this delicious read about the life of Depression-era bank robber Willie Sutton. Willie Sutton (1901 - 1980) was kindhearted, hardworking, and inherently honorable. But from a young age, the goodness in him was beaten down and bullied out. At every turn his attempts to earn a living and live a decent life were thwarted. Banks loomed large in Willie's life, and he came to understand that the people who ran them were the worst dregs of society – immoral and greedy men who had no compassion for those who struggled to eke out a living. One pivotal humiliation turned Willie toward a career he could control: robbing banks. Notwithstanding his talent as a bank robber, Willie Sutton was no stranger to incarceration, or to extricating himself from jail. His charm and personality – as well as his creed of non-violence – made him a folk hero. In Sutton, the reader meets Willie as an old man just after his final release from prison on Christmas Eve, 1969. Within minutes of walking out, he is kidnapped by a reporter and photographer who have been waiting for hours for the big "get" – the first real interview with Willie Sutton. Willie obliges – but in his way. Over the course of the next 24 hours, Willie takes his captors through a chronological series of emotional flashbacks of the defining moments in his life. It is a fascinating story, loosely based on truth, and filled with memorable Runyonesque characters, including Willie's love, Bess. Like with Bonnie and Clyde, this story will draw you in and have you rooting for the bad guy all the way. Sutton is very much a book to savour.
Date published: 2012-10-17
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Didn't do anything for me This book left me cold. It wasn't bad. It wasn't good. I'm not sure how it made it as a "Heather's Pick" but it was a disappointment. The writing was adequate but plain. Neither the story nor the characters engaged me one way or another and I was relieved when I was done.
Date published: 2012-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This novel is a FORCE. Stunning. This book is a force. Undeniably powerful in so many ways. Moehringer's Willie Sutton is one of the most stunning literary characters I have ever read. I rooted for him from from start to finish. I adored this novel.
Date published: 2012-08-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One of 2012's Best Books I really wish I was able give this 4.5 stars. I enjoyed it beginning to end. Although this book is based on an actual person, it wasn't a given that Willie would come across as real - but Moehringer really succeeded in making him feel authentic. There was nothing in this book that felt predictable, but there were also no surprises - save for one revealed late in the book that really added to the sincerity of the whole novel. This is one of the books that everyone around the office that has had a chance to read have acknowledged as one of the year's best so far. Looking forward to the success it will undoubtedly receive when it is released next month!
Date published: 2012-08-10